Preview - 2010 Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games

The Lexington Combined Driving Classic

Course Designers Utilized The Cross Country Fences for the Marathon Phase of Competition

The weather may have been a bit warm as summer refused to give into the October light, but it did not wilt the enthusiasm of the participants, spectators, volunteers and officials who attended the event. For the marathon course designer Richard Nicoll combined his creative talents with the course builder for the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, Mick Costello to utilize several of the event jumps converting them into CDI level hazards for Marathon day. Sheila Woerth brought out her super crew of volunteers to decorate the cross country course and arena in full autumn attire, with mums, huge pumpkins, cornstalks and plants.

A field of entries of 59 combinations of singles, pairs, and teams of horses and ponies competed at the preliminary, intermediate, and advanced levels. The entries represented a number larger than the international four-in-hand teams who will be competing in the driving division of the 2010 Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games, and offered spectators a full day of cross country excitement.

Each phase of combined driving offers something unique. On the first day, traditional carriages, top hats for the men and beautiful dressy hats for the ladies, and formally dressed grooms hold sway while the horses and ponies are put through their paces in the dressage test. The driving marathon on Saturday features thrilling speed and courage as the horses and drivers navigate the maze of each marathon obstacle.

On the final day, precision matters most as each competitor must navigate an obstacle course with mere centimeters of clearance between each set of cones.

On the same weekend The Kentucky Horse Park also hosted the Jump Start Combined Training Event, held in the infield of the steeplechase course, Polo, and the Special Olympics-Kentucky going on in the indoor arena. A Springer Spaniel dog show took place in the Kentucky Horse Park Campgrounds (which will be closed to the public during the games to accommodate the Grooms Village), and all the day to day activities offered by the Horse Park were in full swing as well.

Dr. Pat Maykuth, of the United States Eventing Association, a Technical Deligate and member of the USEA Eventing task force was on hand to observe how both competitions which require the largest amount of space can function simultaneously in the same venue. With over 350 acres within the horse park, there were plenty of stalls and space for all equestrian activities, with no issues.